Premier Li Keqiang visits a community in Yantai, Shandong province, on Monday to talk to merchants and vendors operating booths and small shops about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business, whether they are receiving policy backing and are paying their staffs on time. (WWW.GOV.CN)
Premier calls on banks to ease financing burdens to help merchants survive, thrive
Premier Li Keqiang has called for heightened measures to reduce the financing costs of smaller businesses with steps to raise their lines of credit and allow them to use intellectual property rights as collateral to obtain loans.
Speaking during an inspection trip to Shandong province on Monday and Tuesday, Li urged financial institutions to allow startups to use intellectual property rights as collateral for loans and to consider
greenlighting lenders to take account of the quality of smaller companies' employees during the financing process.
Li visited Blue Intelligence Valley, a center for high-tech startups in Yantai, where he asked business executives about their operations and whether government relief policies have been fully implemented.
Li called upon banks to streamline the financing burdens of struggling businesses even at the cost of their own profits, saying that enabling businesses to ensure success for the future will also benefit the growth of banks.
In this year's Government Work Report, Li announced steps to extend policies allowing smaller businesses to postpone principal and interest payments on loans until the end of March next year and to increase inclusive finance lending from large commercial banks to small businesses by 40 percent.
Noting that the country will see a historic high number of new college graduates this year, Li expressed his hope that businesses will make more jobs available, especially to college graduates.
The premier visited an old residential community in Yantai's Zhifu district, where he heard reports on the renovation of aging communities.
Such renovation will not only improve living conditions, but also spur consumer spending on home remodeling and household appliances, he said.
He highlighted the need to encourage the participation of private capital to help speed up the pace of renovation.
Li asked owners of small shops and independent vendors about how their operations have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many said that their incomes have declined by about 30 to 40 percent.
Li assured the business owners that the government will give them more support, as independent vendor and small shop businesses are important sources of job creation.
Their business models are as much sources of vitality for the country as are high-end industries, and only by ensuring that the market, businesses and the self-employed survive and thrive can the country become more developed, he said.